BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: UK: Scotland  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Education
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Thursday, 24 October, 2002, 13:44 GMT 14:44 UK
Doubts over Labour chairman's seat
John Reid is questioned by the media about his new job
John Reid is questioned by the media about his new job
Dr John Reid has been given the task of leading Labour into next year's round of elections as the new party chairman.

The former Northern Ireland Secretary is seen as a safe pair of hands as the party prepares for the May 2003 polls for local councils and the devolved administrations.

However, the MP for Hamilton North and Bellshill is facing the disappearance of his own seat as part of moves to reduce the Scottish representation at Westminster.

The Boundary Commission proposals would cut the number of Scottish constituencies from 72 to 59.


I would like to say thank you to all the politicians in Northern Ireland

Dr John Reid

Dr Reid's Hamilton North and Bellshill constituency is among those which would be lost if the new map is approved.

The controversial proposals for North Lanarkshire and East Dunbartonshire led to a public inquiry before a sheriff.

Dr Reid was the first to give evidence to the inquiry, in which he said those living in the area were "ill-served" by the plans.

Even if his constituency does vanish, the 55-year-old has been tipped to pick up another seat in Lanarkshire.

Filled vacancy

However, he does not have to be a sitting MP to fill his new post as party chairman.

He was switched from his Northern Ireland brief under the mini-reshuffle prompted by the resignation of Education Secretary Estelle Morris.

Dr Reid filled the vacancy caused by party chairman Charles Clarke's switch at education.

Welsh Secretary of State Paul Murphy has taken over as Northern Ireland Secretary, a post Dr Reid held for less than two years.

Paul Murphy
Paul Murphy has replaced Dr Reid

The Scottish MP said he was disappointed to be leaving Northern Ireland.

"I would like to say thank you to all the politicians in Northern Ireland," he told BBC Radio Ulster.

"They have given me a few sore heads but I am sure they would say the same about me."

However, he said it was an "appropriate" stage to change the secretary of state and he regarded his new job as party chairman as very important.

Dr Reid's troubleshooting skills are said to be highly valued by Tony Blair, who sees him as a safe pair of hands to lead the party into next year's elections.

Scottish elections

He has been MP for Hamilton North and Bellshill since 1997, having represented Motherwell North for the previous decade.

He was made armed forces minister after Labour's 1997 general election victory, then was switched to transport.

In 1999 he was promoted to the post of Scottish secretary after the Scottish Parliament elections.

Last year he became the first Roman Catholic to become the secretary of state for Northern Ireland following the resignation of Peter Mandelson.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Westminster reporter Tim Reid
"He will have to span a whole range of subjects"

Key stories

Analysis

Hearts and Minds

Talking Point

AUDIO VIDEO
See also:

24 Oct 02 | Politics
24 Oct 02 | N Ireland
02 Sep 02 | Scotland
07 Feb 02 | Scotland
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Scotland stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Scotland stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes